Achieving structural change – and adapting to the way in which the world trades – is an essential part of sustainable development. If new global development goals are to reflect the multiple challenges that face today’s world, then trade’s contribution needs to be part of the equation. While trade is more prominent in the current drafts of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) than it was in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the proposed trade targets do not yet provide a framework to tackle the most pressing trade problems, in particular how countries can insert themselves into global value chains. This briefing is an output of the following project: building a post-2015 sustainable development agreement’. Details of the projects funders can be found here.